“We are not born ‘timeless’, but we become it,” says Prince Gyasi, the Ghanaian artist behind the 2024 Pirelli Calendar, who led everything from the concept to casting to creation.
Gyasi’s signature vivid palettes are rendered in a mixture of bright pastels and opulent hues, along with intricately planned sets designed by Gyasi himself, which involved creating a melting clock and a giant red heart.
This year’s participants include supermodel Naomi Campbell, actors Idris Elba, Angela Bassett and Teyana Taylor, visual artist Amoako Boafo, poet Amanda Gorman, writer Margot Lee Shetterly, and musicians Tiwa Savage and Jeymes Samuel. It also features footballer Marcel Desailly, a nod to Gyasi’s infatuation with sport (himself a former footballer), as well as His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the King of West Africa’s historical Asante Empire.
The artist also dedicated one month of the calendar to himself, and recreated a young version of himself for the cover. The cover shot shows Gyasi’s young incarnation playing with miniature versions of pieces that appear in the other cast members’ photos.
The calendar was photographed in the UK as well as Kumasi and Accra in Ghana, which he describes as “a special land. It is the gateway to Africa where you can find everything: cacao, gold, bauxite, oil … I wanted to bring Pirelli there and reveal a new world through a calendar that will last forever, perhaps creating new opportunities for development.”
The artist wrote a manifesto to accompany the calendar, where he speaks of how many of the icons who inspired him as a child continue to today, and reflected on the theme he chose within the context of the brief.
“This project is a calendar, but it is not one with a great respect for time. It is anti-time. It is a celebration of these iconic individuals who with every step chart their own timeless path,” he says. “In these images, my aim is to explore and reimagine how I perceived these seminal figures as a kid growing up in West Africa.”